During their visit the designers were impressed by the local vegetation, but especially by the ‘walking tree,’ a species that has roots that extend above the level of the ground. These roots hold the tree perimetrally, forming a structural ‘cage’. They thought that this system could be very literally translated into a building.
The new building uses a perimetral structural system made of white concrete pipes to create a flexible interior exhibition space. The inside of the structural pipes (with controlled lighting conditions) will be used as media rooms. The pipes will be also used as part of the passive and mechanical cooling system. The roof and outdoor terraces allow for vistas to the Botanical Garden and Rio de Janeiro natural hills and vegetation. The new museum and the historical building are connected at the basement, the ground and second level. The Historical building will be used as temporary exhibition space.
The Museum of the Environment Expansion project integrates sustainable design strategies: use of environmentally-friendly materials, green roofs, storm water storage and re-use, day lighting, shading devices, a 'green' electrical lighting system, and hybrid passive and mechanical cooling systems.